Planning and conservation in historic Chinese cities: The case of Xi'an

Y. P. Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Although the literature on urban development in China has been expanding in recent years, relatively little has been written about the challenge and changes to historic Chinese cities. Historic preservation was an established national policy from 1949. This paper reviews the planning and development experience in the large historic cities since 1949 using Xi'an as a case study. An examination of the impact of national legislation and related policies indicated that the system was only successful in protecting some of the most important historic buildings and sites. The belated introduction of more comprehensive protection and conservation measures in the early 1980s achieved only limited results since much of the historic character of the urban townscape had already been lost. Since 1980, economic reform and increased land values have placed additional pressures on these historic towns. This resulted in the total break-up of old town centres and the loss of many traditional houses. The urban skylines have become increasingly dominated by modern hotels, offices and commercial buildings rather than by traditional temples, towers and pagodas.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)311-332
    Number of pages22
    JournalTown Planning Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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